Clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of the southwest of France. It’s sometimes spelled without the “s” at the end, but the correct spelling is clafoutis, pronounced, klah-foo-tee, with an equal accent on each syllable.
There are many varying recipes for clafoutis, and I’m not even talking about the salty ones with tuna or the huge number of fruit ones (dried pears, apple, plum, etc). I’m talking about the batter itself. There are recipes that call for 2 eggs, 3 eggs, 4 or more! Sometimes there’s barely any flour, other times there are 2 cups. And the other variations are endless. So I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled on to a forum where someone asked, “What is the true, traditional recipe for clafoutis, from the region, handed down from generation to generation?”
There were a few responses, but even those differed. The one thing they all agreed upon was that it should be made with “cerises” (cherries) and that they should not be pitted, nor have the stems removed. This makes me think that the cooks in Limousin prefer to do other things with their time than pit their cherries.
But I think I have a fairly traditional dish to share with you, so let’s give it a go.
It’s not the season for cherries (but I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time and I decided to just go ahead) so I bought frozen. This was 450 grams, which is under a pound. Let the cherries thaw and sprinkle them with sugar.
The traditional recipe is quite tart, and I only used 3 Tablespoons of sugar. But that is quite tart indeed, and you may wish to use a half cup of sugar mixed in with the cherries. (You can also steep them in 3 tablespoons of kirsch, the fruit brandy, but we’re a non-alcoholic household).
The batter that goes on top of the cherries is akin to crèpe or pancake batter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°°C) and butter the porcelain dish you’re going to use.
Ideally it would be a quiche pan, like the one on the right, but you’d need one with taller sides. I decided to go with the one on the left. Note: After reading my French friend’s comment I recommend you use the quiche pan, even without the taller sides, and cook it for less amount of time. And sprinkle sugar on top. I’ll have to make this again soon in the way she recommended.
Beat 40 grams of softened butter, and add a half-cup sugar, 3 eggs, a half-teaspoon salt and a teaspoon vanilla. When that’s smoothly blended, alternate by adding a cup and 3/4 of flour with a cup of milk (or cream, or a combination of the two) until it’s all added into a homogenous mixture.
When that’s done and smooth, pour your cherries into the bottom of the dish
and cover them with batter.
There are lots of ways you can make clafoutis, even with the cherries as a base. The vanilla was not part of the traditional dish, but I added it. You can add lemon zest and lemon juice, you can use ground almonds mixed in with the flour . . .
I chose to cover the top of the batter with slivered almonds.
Into the oven it goes for up to an hour, believe it or not. I set the timer for 25 minutes, turned it, then 15 more minutes. Then I turned it again for 10 minutes, took it out. But when I stuck a knife in it, it still wasn’t done. So I put it back in for 10 more minutes and it was perfect.
When it’s cool, you can sprinkle it with confectioner sugar. You can top it with whipped cream. You can keep the recipe tart (with adding little sugar) and top it with vanilla ice cream. I think you pretty much can’t go wrong . . .
unless you decide to go the traditional route and forget to tell your guests about the pits.
- 500 gr cherries, fresh or frozen
- 40 g butter (3T)
- ⅔-1c sugar
- ½ t salt
- 1 t vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1¾ c flour
- 1 cream and/or milk
- Optional: lemon zest, slivered almonds, whipped cream, confectioner sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F or 160°C.
- Butter the porcelain dish.
- Sprinkle 3T to ½ cup of sugar on the cherries and let sit.
- Beat the butter, then add sugar, salt, vanilla. Blend until creamy.
- Alternate between adding the milk and flour, blending til smooth.
- Pour cherries on bottom of porcelain dish.
- Pour batter on top.
- Sprinkle with almonds if desired.
- Put in oven, turning every 15 to 20 minutes, and keeping a careful eye that it doesn't burn.